Arsenal’s defence to blame for Munich massacre?

Arsenal lost Hector Bellerin last weekend, and Arsene Wenger also substituted Gabriel in place of Koscielny last night. Result? 5-1 defeat to the Germans. Would it have been any different if Koss and Bells were playing? I doubt it!

Arsene Wenger was not happy with the defensive performance at all!

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Arsenal starting XI for Bayern Munich in Champions League

With all the current injury problems affecting the various Arsenal players; with the likes of Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Aaron Ramsey now being joined by Hector Bellerin, the team selection of Arsene Wenger today for the Champions League match away to Bayern Munich is only complicated by whether the boss wants to go with his strongest side or not.

I assume that he does, especially after the morale boost that beating the Germans at home gave the Gunners. So it will be Petr Cech in the goal and Mathieu Debuchy joining the first choice defence of Mertesacker, Koscielny and Monreal.

Arsenal will have the balance of strength, work rate, defensive ability and passing that Coquelin and Cazorla provide in central midfield, with Mesut Ozil trying to open up the opposing side. I expect Alexis Sanchez and Giroud to be joined by Joel Campbell after the Costa Rican´s performance and goal at Swansea last weekend and there is enough attacking flair in our side to score.

However, a lot of the game will be about how well Arsenal can stand up to the pressure of Bayern Munich and they will be desperate to get their revenge. Can the Gunners pull it off?

Debuchy needs to fight for his Arsenal place

Arsenal defender Mathieu Debuchy admits he considered quitting the club after losing his place in the final XI. With Spaniard defender Hector Bellerin becoming a regular, Debuchy currently is behind him in the pecking order.

Arsene Wenger brought Debuchy to the club last season signing him for £12 million. He was touted to be the long term replacement for Bacary Sagna who moved to Manchester City. Wenger thought that he would grow into the role and reduce his worries.

But, the 30-year-old saw his first season blighted with injuries and made only 11 Premier League starts. Ankle ligaments and a dislocated shoulder kept him out of action.

Enter Bellerin! The Spanish youngster took to the Premier League like a natural and in the injury induced break for Debuchy, became one of the regulars for Wenger. And he looks set to continue this season with Debuchy featuring just once so far this season – in the opening game loss to West Ham United.

The form of Bellerin for Arsenal has been so impressive that he was rewarded with a call up to the Spanish national team. This seems to have put Debuchy in a precarious position with his starting role in doubt – in fact, unless Bellerin somehow mysteriously loses his form, Debuchy can bid his hopes of a first XI berth good bye.

Wenger even admitted that Bellerin was one of the surprises of last season. After Dbuchy returned from injury, he expected to be picked for the Community Shield against Chelsea. But with Wenger choosing Bellerin, it has become clear that Debuchy is no longer the first choice.

The Frenchman may have his own doubts about reclaiming the first team berth but the way Bellerin overcame him in the competition should give him hope. Wenger gives his players a chance to impress at various points of the season. And if the player impresses, he wouldn’t mind disrupting the XI to slot him.

The only way for Debuchy from here is up. He needs to keep himself in good shape – both physically and mentally. And when the chance presents itself, Debuchy should grab it with both legs. He should view competition from Bellerin as a mode of improving his own play.

Brilliant Barca man on why he LOVES Arsenal

Unfortunately it is not the great Lionel Messi that has been talking in glowing terms about the mighty Arsenal this week, but our Spanish right back Hector Bellerin did spend the same sort of time learning his trade at the Barca academy at La Masia that has produced the likes of Iniesta, Xavi, Busquets and even our former captain Cesc Fabregas.

Bellerin is Barcelona born and bred and we have to face the possibility that he might want to go back there one day, but the reason he left in the first place was because the chances of actually breaking into the first team are smaller there.

Arsenal also has a great reputation for our youth system and Bellerin has been raving about it this week to Arsenal Player. He says it is one of the best things about the club and he has certainly benefited from it last season and just as he appreciates that, the young Spaniard was blown away to hear how much us fans appreciate the way he took his opportunity.

Bellerin said, “I remember the first time I heard it – we were playing QPR away. I started hearing something like Bellerin and I thought, ‘Is that really a song for me?’. And then they sang it.

“I couldn’t believe it. To play away at QPR and hear my song was amazing. The away support is really strong at Arsenal and to hear that they’re cheering for you, singing your name, you can’t really ask for more. That was one of the highlights of my season.

“In the beginning when you start playing you hope that one day you will have your own song. Once that happened for the first time, it felt like everything had fallen into place and it was a great experience.

“The fans rate that Arsenal don’t just buy players, they make them the players they are,” he said. “Arsenal fans are really proud of that and I think that’s a great thing.

“When players like Francis, Jack or myself come up, the fans should be proud that their team is doing what they’re doing. That’s a great thing Arsenal do.”

It certainly is and hopefully Bellerin will remember that if Barca do come calling one day.

Wenger SLAMS Arsenal defending NOT Ospina!

The TV pundits were pulling no punches on the Arsenal and Colombia keeper David Ospina last night, with both Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher not only blaming him for the winning goal scored by Swansea but claiming it as proof that Ospina has not got what it takes to be the Arsenal number one.

Arsene Wenger, however, saw things differently and is clearly keen to stand up for his keeper, as his post match comments on the Arsenal website show. The Frenchman instead suggested that it was the Arsenal defenders who were at fault for failing to deal with a situation the boss called an easy one.

He said, “When you cannot win a game, don’t lose it. We knew exactly what could happen. It was not even a break. We were warned of the kind of goal they could score with Montero kicking the ball in the air and we were short in jumping for the ball.

“I don’t know [whether to blame Ospina] because I have to see it again. Did the defender not jump or was it that he could have come out? We knew that those kind of crosses are crosses that are easy to defend.”

Looking at the replays there were mistakes from Monreal in the initial build up and then from Bellerin, Koscielny and Monreal again so I do think it was a little harsh to criticise the Colombian keeper so much, especially when it is just about the first mistake he has made this season. Do you agree or do Arsenal need to make a new number one a transfer priority?

Arsenal to SEAL DEAL for brilliant Spanish star

Having really burst on to the scene this season and been rewarded with great praise from the football media, Arsenal have decided that he really is the real deal and are ready to complete a deal to keep our young Spanish right back Hector Bellerin a new long term contract, according to a report in The Mirror.

It might not have happened either, after Arsene Wenger signed the France international Mathieu Debuchy from Newcastle in the summer to replace the Man City bound Bacary Sagna, who probably wonders whether he should have stayed. The boss also let Carl Jenkinson go on loan and if he hadn’t, then it might be him rather than Bellerin getting a new deal.

But the former Barcelona academy star has really grabbed his chance and proved himself a great asset. He deserves his new contract, no doubt about it, and with all the talent and pace at his disposal, the 19-year old could be set to enjoy and long and stellar career as a Gunner.

It also makes you wonder how well our other promising academy players would perform if they got the sort of regular game time that the Spaniard has been given. You never really know how well these starlets will make the transition but fair play to Bellerin, because he came through some difficult games and showed courage and determination as well as talent to really prove himself.

Why Arsenal MUST let this defender leave

Following the rapid progress of Hector Bellerin at Arsenal, there is a lot of speculation in regards to the future of Carl Jenkinson, who was loaned out to West Ham United as a result of Arsenal’s capture of Mathieu Debuchy and Callum Chambers. As a result of the Jenkinson’s promising start to life at Upton Park, several media reports suggest that the Hammers’ boss Sam Allardyce has been in contact with Arsenal in regards to make the loan deal a permanent transfer.

According to The Daily Star, Arsenal have slapped an £8 million price tag on the English international. Although Allardyce is not keen on meeting the Gunners’ asking price, it is understood that a deal is likely to be negotiated as Arsenal want to let him go while West Ham are keen to keep him in East London. Despite the Englishman’s fine start to the season, it is difficult to see him make it in Arsene Wenger’s side, with Debuchy, Chambers and even Bellerin now ahead of him in the pecking order at right-back.

In my opinion, he should be let go. It will be difficult to see a boyhood Gooner be let go by the club but honestly, Carl isn’t quite up to the mark to make it at the Emirates and with the abundance of talent that the Gunners’ have in the right-back position, he probably isn’t going to get any chances anyway. In Debuchy, we have a very solid first choice and Bellerin is definitely our future first-choice right-back. Apart from Chambers, there are also a couple of players in the squad who can fill in at the right side side of defence should there be an emergency.

In addition, the deal will also motivate Bellerin to further continue his rapid progress in the Arsenal first-team. If Carl is let go, it will certainly be a reiteration of Wenger’s faith in the young La Masia graduate. With all these points to consider, I think an agreement has to be reached with West Ham in regards to the permanent transfer of Jenko to the Boleyn Ground.

Bellerin praises Arsenal team-mates for his improved performance

The youngster Hector Bellerin came in for some stick from Arsenal fans after the appalling defensive performance against Stoke last weekend, but he put in a much better shift against Newcastle yesterday but refuses to take all the credit for himself.

“I’m pleased with my performance,” Hector said on Arsenal.com. “All the lads have supported me through the loss against Stoke.

“The players have been really supportive with me and I’m really pleased with the confidence they gave me. It’s them that made me play like that.

“I don’t play like that by myself, I play like that because I’ve got really good players that help me. I’m really pleased.

“It’s nice to get an assist but it’s the work of the whole squad, and I’m really pleased for them.”

He was also glad to praise the strikers as well for a great all round team performance against the Magpies. “Newcastle are a team that were really strong in the second half, so we had to be switched on and I think the team worked hard for it,”

“We worked hard for the goals and I think we deserved them. With players like Alexis [Sanchez] and Danny [Welbeck] up front with all that pace, and then Santi, I think we deserved the win and we did really well.

“I think it was a great performance by the team and we’ve got to keep playing like that.”

Yes we really DO need to keep up that level of performance. After five wins out of six games the Gunners are definitely on a good run. If we can get Ozil back in the team and win again against Liverpool next week, perhaps we can start dreaming of the title again?

Wenger asks Debuchy to play as Arsenal’s centre-back

With Arsenal’s defensive choices dwindling by the day, it seems that Arsene Wenger is hoping that Martin Debuchy can play as centre-back for the first time in his professional career when the Gunners team lines up against his old club Newcastle this evening.

Wenger only has Debuchy, Mertesacker, Gibbs as fit first team defenders, with either the inexperienced Hector Bellerin or the returning Francis Coquelin to fill the right-back role. It has given the Frenchman extra food for thought as the game approaches and he was specifically asked by Arsenal.com whether he had considered moving Debuchy to the middle. “That is what I have to decide,” Wenger replied. “I have asked him already.”

“Yes, of course it’s a big ask, but the solution I have to decide will not be ideal, it will be a gamble. But there is not a massive difference between right-back and centre-back.”

Hmm well actually there is a very large difference between those positions in modern football and require far more specialised skills then Wenger makes out. But an even bigger problem could be who else he can ask to fill the gap in the light of Calum Chambers suspension.

Whatever line-up Wenger finally goes with is going to mean yet another weakened defence against one of the most in-form teams in the Premiership. Arsenal will have no choice but to play a couple of midfielders much deeper to try and protect them, which could mean giving away too much possession in midfield.

Le Boss is stuck between a rock and a hard place, but if he comes out of this one smelling of roses he will definitely be hailed as a genius again!

So why DID Wenger reveal Arsenal starting XI early?

With all the various problems facing Arsene Wenger and his Arsenal squad, including not having Olivier Giroud registered for the Champions League and all sorts of injuries and other players with fatigue from so many games, we already knew that the Gunners team to face Galatasaray in Istanbul tonight would be different.

So with plenty of the Arsenal first team not travelling to Turkey, including Alexis Sanchez, Kieran Gibbs, Laurent Koscielny, Danny Welbeck and Santi Cazorla, it was always going to be easier to guess what our starting line-up would be before the game.

But I don’t understand why Wenger has helped his opposite number in the Galatasaray dugout by revealing his team a day before we are due to play, as an Arsenal.com report explains. The Turkish club have sacked Cesare Prandelli after their woeful start to the season, especially in Europe, and the new man Hamza Hamzaoğlu will certainly be looking for a win to regain some pride and confidence, so why give him any help?

Wenger said, “To make it as simple as possible, I have 11 experienced players and six young players on the bench. That means I have nothing to hide. Debuchy is back with us and will play, Szczesny is back in goal, Mertesacker, Chambers will play because Gibbs did not travel, Bellerin at left-back. Then you have Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey, Flamini, Podolski, Sanogo and Campbell. The players who needed it stayed behind – like Cazorla, Sanchez, Gibbs, Giroud is not qualified and Welbeck, who could have travelled but recently had a little knee problem, so took advantage of that to rest him.”

I suppose that our manager could still juggle things around a little and use some of the academy players, but revealing that Bellerin will play out of position at left back seems to be asking for trouble and I’m sure that the Turks will already be planning how to target the youngSpaniard.

So has the Frenchman made a mistake by revealing his Arsenal team too early?